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City of Townsville, Queensland Australia
29 October, 2018

Fibre optic sharing in regional Australia to create opportunities

AARNet, James Cook University and Townsville City Council have announced a partnership to improve connectivity for the community by sharing fibre optic cables throughout the city.

The agreement will improve Council’s connectivity through Townsville, allow the expansion of free Wi-Fi services, and provide a second high-speed network to the North Queensland Regional Data Centre (NQRDC).

Other benefits could include allowing local schools to use high-speed Internet to conduct virtual lessons with JCU lecturers through video conferencing technology, and Aitkenvale Library to connect to AARNet’s super-fast research and education network.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said this partnership plays an important role in Townsville becoming a Smart City.

“Being able to tap into AARNet’s capabilities means we will have far more digital more capacity in areas where JCU has an existing physical network,” Cr Hill said.

“By sharing infrastructure, we both get more coverage across the city and ability to share whether it’s Aitkenvale Library being able to connect into a high-speed research network or for Council expanding its free Wi-Fi to JCU’s campus.

Sharing infrastructure means cost savings

There is also a cost saving for Council because they will not need to roll out expensive fibre optic networks anywhere there is existing AARNet or JCU network infrastructure.

James Cook University ICT Infrastructure Services Head, Swain Kirk said JCU was pleased to be working with Council and AARNet to deliver improved services through the sharing of telecommunications fibre and progressing Townsville’s Smart City Strategy.

Extending eduroam wifi access beyond the JCU campus

“The approach will improve the delivery of services for the Townsville student community by enabling access to AARNet’s Eduroam service from Council libraries, museums and popular areas such as The Strand,” Mr Kirk said.

“The Eduroam service provides the global academic community with access to the Internet using their own organisations’ credentials. Previously only available on university campuses, the remodelling of the service generated through AARNet’s growing collaboration with regional communities has seen the Eduroam service integrating into key community areas of potential learning.”

“The collaboration will utilise AARNet and Council shared fibre to access the Eduroam Internet service via JCUs links to Brisbane. The three organisations will continue to work closely to further integrate this level of service for the airport and other educational organisations.”

Improving data centre access

Cr Hill said the deal was also important to facilitate the growth of the North Queensland Regional Data Centre that will help attract new industries to Townsville.

“This will provide extra back-ups by linking in JCU’s infrastructure into the NQRDC, which makes the system even more resilient,” Cr Hill said.

“We want this facility to grow and attract new creative and IT businesses to Townsville – helping provide more job opportunities for locals.”

The North Queensland Regional Data Centre is a partnership with Townsville City Council and James Cook University.

This partnership is a great example of how AARNet works with customer universities and local councils to improve access to network infrastructure in regional Australia.

To find out more about partnering with AARNet, please contact us.